AERS Advisory Manager, Deloitte & Touche LLP
As a sophomore in college, Melanie Desmond mainly knew Deloitte for its accounting services — but after attending Deloitte’s National Leadership Conference, her interest in the organization grew exponentially. “I loved the people at Deloitte and knew right away that I wanted to pursue a career there,” she says. Nearly five years later, Melanie is a thriving member of the Audit and Enterprise Risk Services (AERS) Advisory practice at Deloitte & Touche LLP, where she helps clients understand and approach risk strategically within their industries. She also mentors women and helps with the recruiting process, where she does her best to share her love of Deloitte with the students she meets.
How would you explain your role?
I’m in the AERS Advisory practice, with a focus on consumer and industrial products and technology. I split my time between working with clients to proactively identify and manage risks in their industry, and working on an internal consulting project to improve the quality of processes and services within Deloitte.
What is the culture like at Deloitte?
It’s definitely a team-based environment. Deloitte does not feel hierarchical — everyone is very approachable. People are often surprised to hear that my network is mostly made up of partners, principals and directors. Although these professionals are all senior to me, we all know we can learn from each other. There are great opportunities for mentorships here.
What misconceptions do people have about Deloitte?
In college, I thought that everyone at Deloitte was an Accountant and did the same thing day in and day out. The internal opportunities and the career progression that Deloitte can provide for you are endless. That’s what keeps people challenged.
What is it like to focus on technology work within the AERS Advisory practice at Deloitte?
Working to help clients mitigate their risks through innovative solutions is exciting — particularly because technology is constantly changing, so new challenges arise every day. Challenges evolve on a daily basis in our industry, so for us it provides a lot of opportunities to help.
What opportunities for personal growth does Deloitte offer?
I’m very involved in recruiting and in women’s mentorship through the Women’s Initiative (WIN). Through WIN, I’ve planned Lean In circles to get women in the office talking about current issues. I also work a lot with Dress for Success and other nonprofit organizations.
Can you say more about that type of work?
At a Women’s Conference I recently attended, I learned that about half of all accounting or finance degrees are held by women – but that number drops to about 14 percent at the executive level! Being a woman in technology, I’m very passionate about getting more women in leadership roles and working on a better work/life balance. I’m fortunate to be at Deloitte, where that’s very much supported – I truly hope to have a lifetime career here.
Any advice you could offer to students?
Not to be afraid to take on any challenge! The times that I took on something that made me step out of my comfort zone were the times that I grew and learned the most. When I was still new to the organization, I had to present to a group of senior executives. Although I was nervous, I was fully prepared — and a few of them still remember me from that presentation, which helped me build confidence and also expanded my career at Deloitte.